18 Months ‘Not Easy, but Worth It’

August 9th, 2011

Bea Benson

Bea Benson '05 was attracted by EMU's commitment to Christian values.

Though the bulk of her working hours are spent reviewing medical charts for thoroughness and compliance with insurance requirements, Bea Benson ’05 insists her job is full of excitement. “I really love it … there’s never a dull moment,” said Benson, a clinical documentation specialist at Augusta Health in Fishersville, Virginia.

Benson has worked at Augusta Health since 1988, when she began as a secretary. She soon finished a RN degree at Blue Ridge Community College, and spent 15 years working as a nurse at the hospital.

Like many nurses who enroll in EMU’s RN-to-BSN program, Benson was attracted to a field of nursing that requires a bachelor’s degree – home health, in her case. When she began looking at programs in the region, the Adult Degree Completion Program stood out. One of its biggest attractions was its one-night-a-week schedule, allowing her to fit continuing education around her full-time work at the hospital.

“That was the thing that really tripped it for me,” she said. “I thought I would never get my bachelor’s … I won’t say it was easy, but it just worked for me.”

Benson, who attends West Waynesboro Church of Christ, also said EMU’s commitment to Christian values was important in her decision to pick it over other area schools.

While the writing load and the time commitment of the program were challenging, she said, a highlight of her coursework was an outreach project in which she worked on nutrition and social development with an Hispanic family in Dayton.

“It was a good learning experience going into another culture that I was very uncomfortable with [at first], and doing that project and succeeding at it … I felt like I really accomplished something when I left that family,” she said.

After graduating from EMU in 2005, Benson worked in home health care for five years, before returning to Augusta Health in her current role. When she’s not busy flipping through charts, she’s been encouraging colleagues to look at EMU’s program for advancing their nursing careers.

“You can do this,” she tells them. “There’s a lot of reading, but it’s obtainable.”